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Sackett v. EPA, No. 10-1062 (Mar. 21, 2012)

Sackett v. EPA, No. 10-1062 (Mar. 21, 2012)

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03/21/2012

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1
(Slip Opinion)
OCTOBER TERM, 2011Syllabus
NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as isbeing done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has beenprepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.See
United States
v.
 Detroit Timber & Lumber Co.,
200 U. S. 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
Syllabus
SACKETT
ET VIR
v
. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
 AGENCY 
ET AL
.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FORTHE NINTH CIRCUITNo. 10–1062. Argued January 9, 2012—Decided March 21, 2012The Clean Water Act prohibits “the discharge of any pollutant by anyperson,” 33 U. S. C. §1311, without a permit, into “navigable waters,”§1344. Upon determining that a violation has occurred, the Envi-ronmental Protection Agency (EPA) may either issue a complianceorder or initiate a civil enforcement action. §1319(a)(3). The result-ing civil penalty may not “exceed [$37,500] per day for each viola-tion.” §1319(d). The Government contends that the amount doublesto $75,000 when the EPA prevails against a person who has been is-sued a compliance order but has failed to comply.The Sacketts, petitioners here, received a compliance order fromthe EPA, which stated that their residential lot contained navigablewaters and that their construction project violated the Act. TheSacketts sought declarative and injunctive relief in the Federal Dis-trict Court, contending that the compliance order was “arbitrary[and] capricious” under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5U. S. C. §706(2)(A), and that it deprived them of due process in viola-tion of the Fifth Amendment. The District Court dismissed theclaims for want of subject-matter jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit af-firmed, concluding that the Clean Water Act precluded pre-enforcement judicial review of compliance orders and that such pre-clusion did not violate due process.
Held:
The Sacketts may bring a civil action under the APA to challengethe issuance of the EPA’s order. Pp. 4–10.(a) The APA provides for judicial review of “final agency action forwhich there is no other adequate remedy in a court.” 5 U. S. C. §704.The compliance order here has all the hallmarks of APA finality.Through it, the EPA “determined” “rights or obligations,”
 Bennett
v.
 
 
2 SACKETT
v.
EPA Syllabus
Spear
, 520 U. S. 154, 178, requiring the Sacketts to restore theirproperty according to an agency-approved plan and to give the EPA access. Also, “legal consequences . . . flow” from the order,
ibid.
,which, according to the Government’s litigating position, exposes theSacketts to double penalties in future enforcement proceedings. Theorder also severely limits their ability to obtain a permit for their fillfrom the Army Corps of Engineers, see 33 U. S. C. §1344; 33 CFR§326.3(e)(1)(iv). Further, the order’s issuance marks the “consumma-tion” of the agency’s decisionmaking process,
 Bennett
,
supra,
at 178,for the EPA’s findings in the compliance order were not subject tofurther agency review. The Sacketts also had “no other adequateremedy in a court,” 5 U. S. C. §704. A civil action brought by the EPA under 33 U. S. C. §1319 ordinarily provides judicial review in suchcases, but the Sacketts cannot initiate that process. And each daythey wait, they accrue additional potential liability. Applying to theCorps of Engineers for a permit and then filing suit under the APA if that permit is denied also does not provide an adequate remedy forthe EPA’s action. Pp. 4–6.(b) The Clean Water Act is not a statute that “preclude[s] judicialreview” under the APA, 5 U. S. C. §701(a)(1). The APA creates a“presumption favoring judicial review of administrative action.”
 Block
v.
Community Nutrition Institute
, 467 U. S. 340, 349. Whilethis presumption “may be overcome by inferences of intent drawnfrom the statutory scheme as a whole,”
ibid.,
the Government’s ar-guments do not support an inference that the Clean Water Act’s stat-utory scheme precludes APA review. Pp. 7–10.622 F. 3d 1139, reversed and remanded.S
CALIA 
, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. G
INSBURG
,J., and A 
LITO
, J., filed concurring opinions.
 
 
 _________________  _________________ 
1Cite as: 566 U. S. ____ (2012)Opinion of the Court
NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in thepreliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested tonotify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in orderthat corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
No. 10–1062
CHANTELL SACKETT,
ET VIR
, PETITIONERS
v.
ENVI-RONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY,
ET AL
.
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT[March 21, 2012]
J
USTICE
S
CALIA 
delivered the opinion of the Court.We consider whether Michael and Chantell Sackett maybring a civil action under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U. S. C. §500
et seq.
, to challenge the issuance bythe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of an administrative compliance order under §309 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U. S. C. §1319. The order asserts that the Sacketts’ property is subject to the Act, and that they haveviolated its provisions by placing fill material on the property; and on this basis it directs them immediately torestore the property pursuant to an EPA work plan.IThe Clean Water Act prohibits, among other things, “thedischarge of any pollutant by any person,” §1311, withouta permit, into the “navigable waters,” §1344—which the Act defines as “the waters of the United States,” §1362(7).If the EPA determines that any person is in violation of this restriction, the Act directs the agency either to issuea compliance order or to initiate a civil enforcement action.§1319(a)(3). When the EPA prevails in a civil action, the Act provides for “a civil penalty not to exceed [$37,500] per

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